It is January, it is cold outside and I am curled up on the couch online. My little darling enters, “Mummy, shouldn’t we start planning my birthday party soon?” “Sure sweetie, “ I answer (her birthday is the end of May). I immediately begin to look up venues that are reasonably priced and can take all the hassle out of a large group of 6/7 year olds on cake. Sweetie mentions, “I want a Skylanders birthday party this year.” “Oh, um ok sweetie.” This is my own fault entirely. Last birthday party was Harry Potter themed, I turned the house into Hogwarts, had classes, magic, heraldic banners, Quidditch, and Platform 9 -3/4 to enter the house the whole nine yards. She expects that there will be islands floating somewhere near the ceiling I am sure. Maybe a ship to travel around in, sigh.
I love planning things. I love doing research to find out what is fun for the age group involved, I love making the pieces that will eventually decorate the venue, and I especially love the delighted look on the faces of the participants when an event goes well. As my child might have indicated-plenty of pre-planning and lots of lead time is the BEST way to have a great event. It is not always possible, so having a few plans in your hip pocket to fall back on in an emergency doesn’t go amiss. This go-round I will concentrate on the “lots of lead time” model. It is, after all, my favourite.
When I start planning for an event I like to open a document and just brainstorm ideas. To keep things clear, I mean ANY ideas on location, activities, dates, times, food, guests, prizes, gifts, staff, etc. keep this list it may come in handy if something falls through and another idea is needed. Once this has been done go through the list and pick out the best ideas and put them aside for consideration. Put these ideas on your timeline and assign dates to them so you know when they should be completed. I love this second list because this makes me feel like I have gotten a lot done and the event is practically planned. The hardest part after this is choosing a date and a venue. Once that is out of the way your creativity can take over.
I have been lucky in my latest planning ventures to have a very easy-going taskmistress (Sweetie) so no worries there, but if the person you are working for is demanding it is important to keep them in the loop. Even if the news isn’t great. Having been on both sides of the equation it is really difficult to not know anything more concrete than “oh, everything is on schedule” or the even more vague “no problems, everything is fine.” to deal with. Even if all of your communication is over email and text, let your tasker know in a short “report” (maybe a paragraph or two) that you have completed this or that and are now onto the next thing and the plans for X are in place. Also let them know if any problems have arisen and how they were dealt with. They will appreciate being informed without having to ask.
So you know, the Party went great. There were fun hats and a search for keys and Skystones were played and treasure boxes were found and everyone had fun, even the helpers.
Sabrina loves it when her plans come together. With a young child in the house there are even more opportunities to plan and execute fun, stay tuned for all the details.